BY JENNIFER SELF Californian lifestyles editor firstname.lastname@example.org
The film had its world premiere in Los Angeles, but “Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound” finally comes home on Sept. 18, to a venue that doesn’t get more Bakersfield Sound-ified: Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace.
“Now it’s finally going to be played for the people who helped make it,” said filmmaker Joe Saunders, the grandson of Mize, a country music performer and television personality who, decades ago, joined Owens, Merle Haggard and their contemporaries in creating a raw and thoroughly original hybrid of rockabilly and honky-tonk that made the city famous.
“I met my grandfather as an adult — not literally — but I’ve learned so much more about him as an adult and have a deeper understanding and respect for him,” said Saunders, 35, a Los Angeles filmmaker.
The festivities kick off at 6 p.m. with, naturally, a little Bakersfield Sound music, courtesy of Tommy Hays and other local trailblazers of the 1950s and ’60s. The screening follows, at around 7 or 7:30.
Saunders hopes his grandfather will be able to attend, but a recent fall broke a vertebra in Mize’s back “and he’s kind of been immobile.” The filmmaker’s mother and aunt — Mize’s daughters — are expected, and Saunders has invited several Bakersfield Sound players, like Red Simpson and Bobby Durham. Read More ▸